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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:39 pm    Post subject: BC liberals kick out mla for taking speakers role Reply with quote

( its rather unheard of for a political party to kick out a member cause they took the speakers role but the BC situation is unique at the moment )

B.C. Liberals boot Darryl Plecas from party for taking role of Speaker

Canadian Press

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

VICTORIA – British Columbia’s Liberal party has kicked out one of its caucus members for taking the role of Speaker in the NDP minority government.

Darryl Plecas, MLA for Abbotsford South, took the Speaker position yesterday to the surprise of his party.

By taking the role, Plecas gave the New Democrats more breathing room in the legislature where they hold a razor-thin minority, with a one-seat majority with the support of Green party member votes.

Interim Liberal Leader Rich Coleman said Friday that Plecas betrayed his own party and effectively joined the NDP by accepting the Speaker’s post.

In a news release, the party now says the Abbotsford South riding association requested to revoke Plecas’ membership to the party, which the executive approved today.

Liberal party president Sharon White says Plecas had broken his trust with constituents and the party by taking the position after having repeatedly promised that he would not do so.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BC Liberals expel Darryl Plecas from party after Speaker move

Plecas was the only MLA to put his name forward for Speaker

CBC News Posted: Sep 09, 2017 1:34 PM PT| Last Updated: Sep 09, 2017 3:22 PM PT

Former Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas is escorted from legislative assembly after being elected Speaker on Friday. On Saturday, he had his BC Liberal Party membership revoked.

The BC Liberal party has revoked the party membership of MLA Darryl Plecas, one day after he became Speaker of the provincial legislature.

The party announced that Plecas was no longer a member in a statement on Saturday.

"Constituents must be able to trust their elected representatives," it said. "Party members must be able to trust those who hold positions of leadership in the party. And members of the legislature must be able to trust one another."

The statement said Plecas' decision was a betrayal, one he made "despite repeated promises and assurances that he would not."

Revoking Plecas' membership was "the strongest action available," a spokesperson added.

Plecas alone
Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas sits alone in the Legislative Chamber after skipping caucus meeting. He was later named Speaker. (Richard Zussman/CBC News)

'I took him at his word': Coleman

Plecas, MLA for Abbotsford South, was the only member of the legislature to put his name forward for Speaker.

The move strengthened the NDP government's position in the minority parliament, ensuring the party didn't lose a voting MLA to sit as Speaker.

Plecas was also the only member of the BC Liberals to speak out against the leadership of its former leader, Christy Clark.

The party's interim leader, MLA Rich Coleman, didn't mince words about his former colleague's move to the Speaker's chair.

"Everyone had committed, including Mr. Plecas, to not run for Speaker," Coleman said Friday. "I took him at his word. Obviously, that word didn't mean a lot."

There are now 41 Liberals MLAs, 41 NDP MLAs, three Green MLAs as well as Plecas sitting in the legislature. The Speaker would break any tie votes.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

September 8, 2017 1:40 pm Updated: September 8, 2017 3:54 pm

Former BC Liberal elected as Speaker of the House

By Amy Judd, Charmaine de Silva and Liza Yuzda Global News

WATCH: In a shocking move, Abbotsford MLA Darryl Plecas has crossed the floor to be the next Speaker of the House for the NDP. Keith Baldrey has reaction from the Liberals ahead of today's Throne Speech.

Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas is now the Speaker of the House.

The BC Liberals have removed Plecas from their caucus after he decided to take on the role.

Interim Liberal leader Rich Coleman said Plecas had just told the party earlier this week that he would not be running for Speaker, adding that his decision is a betrayal akin to crossing the floor.

“When you tell your colleagues that you are not going to do something, they take you at your word, you break your word, you go do it, become the speaker, you defacto already joined the NDP,” said Coleman.

“I’ll respect the chair. I don’t have to respect him.”

Despite the disappointment, Coleman said the Liberal party is strong and the NDP and Green alliance still have many challenges ahead.

READ MORE: BC Liberal MLA says he turned down NDP-Green speaker offer three times

Plecas’s acclamation ends months of speculation on how Premier John Horgan could manage the government with such a narrow minority if he had to put up one of his own members as Speaker.

Horgan tweeted his congratulations shortly after the announcement.

This move leaves the Liberals and the NDP with 41 seats each. The Green Party holds three seats.

Andrew Weaver, leader of the Green Party, said in a statement:

“Darryl is known by his colleagues in the Legislature as a person of exceptional ethics and high moral standards. He will undoubtedly serve with dignity and honour as Speaker of this House.

Darryl’s willingness to stand for Speaker is an encouraging sign that the MLAs of all parties will be able to work together in a productive, collaborative session. We have an historic opportunity to work across party lines to advance good public policy that serves the interests of British Columbians. I look forward to finally getting on with the business of the Legislature to do just that.”

Going back in time

But back in June, the MLA for Abbotsford South said the New Democrats and the BC Greens asked him three times to put his name forward to be speaker.

“Let’s be clear about this. I would never be speaker without the blessing of my colleagues in caucus,” said Plecas.

LISTEN: Darryl Plecas told Simi Sara back in June he would not be speaker

In fact, Plecas said he was elected as a BC Liberal and to prop up an NDP government would be “disrespectful” to his constituents.

“And certainly if I did that, I’d be the first to say I should be thrown out of office by my constituents.”

But being speaker does come with perks.

In addition to his $105,881 salary as MLA, Plecas will receive an additional $52,940 dollars for the job.

~With files from The Canadian Press


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plecas defection gives NDP minority important breathing room

Rob Shaw Rob Shaw
More from Rob Shaw

Published on: September 9, 2017 | Last Updated: September 9, 2017 2:01 PM PDT

VICTORIA — Top B.C. New Democrats knew three weeks ago they had persuaded Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas to turn against his party and become Speaker of the legislature, a stunning turn of events that played out in the capital on Friday.

The sensitive behind-the-scenes negotiations to lure Plecas, the MLA for Abbotsford South, into the job were stickhandled by the NDP’s government house leader, Mike Farnworth. Over the course of half a dozen phone calls and meetings, Plecas and Farnworth hashed out the deal, with only a small number of New Democrats in the loop until the last minute Friday.

The ultimate impact of the move could be to lengthen the life of the minority NDP government, and give the New Democrats the necessary breathing room to pass legislation. With a Liberal in the job, the NDP can pass legislation without having to rely on the Speaker to break tie votes, a risk it faced if it had to appoint a NDP MLA as Speaker.

The origins of Plecas’s defection appear to be when he spoke up against Liberal leader Christy Clark at a Liberal caucus retreat in Penticton, held on July 27, shortly after the Clark government fell in a no-confidence vote. Plecas threatened to quit unless Clark resigned. Clark ultimately stepped down rather than fight Plecas publicly.

But many Liberal MLAs were furious at the Abbotsford MLA for attacking their leader.

Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas is escorted from the Speaker corridor to the legislative assembly after being elected Speaker of legislature on Friday.

Plecas went public with the story of his actions in Penticton to his local paper, prompting Farnworth to pick up the phone and call him, say those familiar with the negotiations, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The two MLAs had lunch. The NDP would be willing to support Plecas for Speaker if he wanted the job, Farnworth offered. Plecas expressed interest, and the two cut a deal over a series of phone calls before Plecas left for holidays in August.

Behind the scenes, the Liberals had no idea what was going on. Plecas hadn’t attended any caucus meetings since Penticton. He returned from holidays on Sept. 6, but failed to show up to another caucus meeting on Sept. 7, citing a doctor’s appointment.

Interim Liberal leader Rich Coleman got Plecas on the phone that morning. He thought he’d received assurance that Plecas would opt out of the Speaker’s job by submitting the required opt-out form by the deadline of 6 p.m. that day. Yet when the Liberals checked that evening, Plecas hadn’t opted out.

Coleman got Plecas on the phone again. “I spoke to him last evening for an hour, he had indicated at 10 a.m. (Friday) morning he’d be sending in his form,” said Coleman. That didn’t happen either. Plecas skipped a planned meeting with Coleman at 9 a.m. Instead, Plecas went and sat alone in the legislative chamber, at a back desk, and waited for other MLAs to arrive.

When it became clear what was happening, Coleman stood in front of the Liberal MLAs at their 9:30 a.m. caucus meeting and said: “I hate to break this to you, but we’ve all been duped.” He told the Liberals to brace for betrayal by Plecas when they walked into the house.

Interim Liberal leader Rich Coleman takes questions from media after Liberal MLA Darryl Plecas agreed to be elected as Speaker at legislature.

At the same time, the NDP caucus was hearing about the deal for the first time as well.

Other than Premier John Horgan, and a small number of staff, Farnworth had not told anyone he’d secured Plecas’s defection. Farnworth had instructed MLAs Raj Chouhan, Leonard Krog and Spencer Chandra Herbert — who were all interested in the job — to opt out, but didn’t tell them why.

When Farnworth told caucus that Liberal MLA Plecas would be the next Speaker, the New Democrat MLAs broke into cheers.

Inside the chamber, Liberals sat stone-faced as Plecas assumed the position. They refused to clap for him, and Coleman did not congratulate him in his speech.

Coleman would emerge from the legislative chamber fuming about Plecas’s betrayal. He likened it to crossing the floor to join the NDP or Greens.

“Effectively that’s what he’s done, he’s given another seat to the Greens and the NDP by becoming the Speaker and doing it by basically not being honest with his colleagues or me,” said Coleman.

The decision by Plecas “puts a little wind in the sails” of the governing NDP-Green alliance, said Max Cameron, a political scientist at UBC.

“I think that this minority has a more workable minority in partnership with the Greens, which I think means its life expectancy just improved significantly,” Cameron said.

Typically, a minority government in Canada lasts 18 months to two years, but the alliance now stands a chance to achieve its goal of lasting its full four years, Cameron said.

With Clark’s resignation, an ordinary vote in the legislature now stands at 41 Liberals (not counting Plecas), 41 New Democracts and three Greens. Plecas, as Speaker, would not vote unless there was a tie. The Liberal seat count could rise back to 43 if the party wins the byelection, which has not been called yet, to replace Clark in her riding of Kelowna West.

Coleman said it was too early to decide whether Plecas would be allowed to remain a Liberal, but as Speaker he would not attend caucus meetings or party events in any event. The Liberal party said he remains a member, for now.

Green Leader Andrew Weaver said he’d also been talking to Plecas about becoming Speaker and had referred him to Farnworth to continue talks.

Plecas’s sudden interest in the job came just two months after he publicly said he’d been approached and had flatly turned down the offers.

“The notion of us (the Liberals) putting up someone for Speaker under the current circumstances is ridiculous,” Plecas told columnist Mike Smyth at the time. “In fact, I would go further to say that it would be an outright manipulation of the democratic process.”

He also told the Abbotsford News at the time such a move would be “very disrespectful of me” and “very dishonourable.”

Once considered a merely ceremonial position, the job of Speaker has grown in importance in recent years and is especially critical to the NDP minority government. Traditionally, the Speaker is a non-partisan referee of the legislative proceedings.

Plecas will now get the Speaker allowance of $52,941 on top of his $105,882 salary as MLA.

“The best that one could hope for, and what’s appropriate to hope for, is that he understands his job now is to serve the institutional interests of the legislature as a whole,” said Cameron, the UBC political scientist.

“If he does that — and it is a remarkably important and edifying role for him to play — he’ll go down in history, potentially.”

Plecas refused interview requests Friday

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BC liberals kick out mla for taking speakers role

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